Ballarat and the surrounding region is set to become a hive of activity and festivities, thanks to a fabulous line-up of autumn events. From an impressive array of food and cultural festivals, to sporting competitions and book-loving bonanzas, here are seven ideas to get you started.
Plate Up Ballarat
Following the success of last year’s inaugural festival, Plate Up Ballarat is set to wow tourists and locals this autumn, with a tempting taste of what Ballarat’s vibrant food and drink scene has to offer. The festival unites the city's most renowned chefs and business owners, showcasing dynamic ideas, unique experiences and local produce at its best, and bringing local culinary creativity to the fore during May.
Ballarat Begonia Festival
Returning during the long weekend in March, this year’s Ballarat Begonia Festival celebrates the long-awaited return of the floral tram, along with an exciting line-up of entertainment, activities, talks, culinary delights and celebrity guests. The popular Power FM Begonia Parade takes place on March 11, the spectacular display of begonias returns to the Conservatory, and this year there will also be a Circus Drop Zone, where visitors can learn new skills such as juggling or unicycling.
Ballarat Heritage Weekend
With its wide streets, gorgeous gardens, majestic statues and iconic architecture, Ballarat provides the perfect backdrop for Heritage Weekend. Enjoy the visual spectacle of the Tweed Ride, or be blown away by some of the best facial hair since the gold rush in the Ballarat Beard and Stache Competition. If vintage fashion is more tailored to your liking, you won’t want to miss the Ballarat Aprons Festival, or the gorgeous fashion shows, displays and markets.
Now in its ninth year, Harmony Fest explodes across the city in celebration of Ballarat’s wonderful diversity. This year’s program will showcase more than 30 wonderful initiatives championed by the Ballarat community during Cultural Diversity Week, including “Tastes of the World”, a special opportunity for local restaurants to feature and celebrate their unique cuisines and cultures.
Stawell Gift Carnival
The Stawell Gift Carnival is one of Australia’s most iconic sporting events, which incorporates the famous 120-metre handicap foot race, the Stawell Gift. The unique event is steeped in tradition, and visitors can enjoy three days of competition, fashion, fun and festivities, with Fashions on the Field, an Easter egg hunt, and a fantastic schedule of kid-friendly activities.
Daylesford’s ChillOut Festival is Australia’s biggest regional LGBTI pride festival, with highlights including a street parade along Vincent Street and Carnival Day at Victoria Park. There's also a colourful schedule of comedy acts, dances, entertainment and more for the local and wider community to enjoy.
Clunes Booktown Festival
Returning this May with a series of authors and guest speakers joining the historic country town for a book-filled festival. The popular two-day event will feature a series of panel discussions and Q&A-style talks with leading Australian authors, and Australia’s largest bookshop, with the whole of the main street given over to bookstores, with festival-goers able to browse rare and collectible books, peek inside heritage buildings, listen to live music while sampling local food and wine, watch street performers, visit exhibitions, and immerse themselves in stories.
Further information about these events can be found in the autumn edition of The Courier’s Out and About magazine, which is out now. Click on the link to read all the stories online.